Contrary to what some gurus will tell you, there is no one “correct” spiritual path. There are many routes to spiritual revelation, all of which can lead to higher knowledge, deeper wisdom, and a connection with the Higher Self. There are, however, some paths that are more suitable to different people. Depending on your nature, your spiritual goals, and how far along you are on your journey, there are likely some paths that are more suitable for reaching your destination.
Determining which path is the best for you to achieve your goal is a very important decision in your life. If you don’t take the time to properly consider your path, you may begin one approach and encounter obstacles along the way that could be too difficult for you to tackle at a particular time. Another path might be better and easier, even if it takes a little longer to arrive at the goal. And obviously, if you choose the wrong path for you, you could be stuck for many years, or you could lose the enthusiasm that is so necessary to continue onward.
Keep these five things in mind as you start the process of deciding which path is right for you:
These paths and exercises are based on the teachings from Higher Self Yoga: Book 1 by Nanette V. Hucknall. For more information on each path, along with more exercises for determining which path is the correct choice for you, pick up a copy from Amazon today!
1. There are two kinds of paths.
All spiritual paths fall into two broad categories, Paths of Source/God Consciousness and Worldly Paths. The Paths of Source Consciousness are for those who are determined to seek the highest levels of spirituality, and prepared to dramatically reorient their lives around achieving difficult spiritual goals. Worldly paths are less concentrated on study and meditation, and instead focus more on personal relationships and acts of good. If you are on the edge and, at this time in your life, prefer to walk more slowly, a worldly path is often a better starting point.
2. You’re not locked into your path.
For example, at any given time, you may begin one path and later realize that another would be more appropriate for you at that particular time in your life. You might then change your direction and start at another level on the other path. The first path may be too much work, so you might choose to change to a lighter path and then later discover that you are in a better place to return to the more rigorous path. It is important to realize that the path can be changed as long as your movement is always forward.
3. People progress at different speeds, so avoid comparing your progress.
Each person’s path is unique and has many skandhas (collections of teachings) to be worked through. For this reason, it might be a good idea to be somewhat guarded about your path. You don’t necessarily have to keep it a secret, but not telling everyone you know can remove social pressure and keep you from comparing your progress to the progress of others.
4. You can change your path, but keep in mind…
The tendency to give up on a path is often the inability to pace yourself properly, to judge just how much you are capable of doing. Sometimes a person will take on too much and become too tired to continue. The reverse is also true: Sometimes a person will take on too little when capable of doing much more, and as a result, the movement is too slow. This is why choosing the right path is so important.
5. Start By Determining If you Prefer a Social Life or Solitude
While there are many exercises you can perform to determine which path is right for you, the best way to start narrowing down your choices is by asking yourself if you prefer to practice spirituality alone or in the presence of others. If you have a great need to be with others and end up choosing a path that will demand you spend a lot of time alone, you will feel unhappy and it will affect your spiritual progress.
It is important to also realize that you may gravitate to a certain lifestyle because it is what you know and are used to. For example, you may spend a lot of time alone, but, when you analyze
your needs, you discover that actually you would prefer to be more social than you are. The missing aspect, whether it be to become more active socially or less active socially, is important in your spiritual practice.
An Exercise to Get You Started
These questions are to help you determine your lifestyle and your personal needs. What makes you happy? What makes you feel love? With this information, you can decide which spiritual path is most aligned with your nature and your goals.
Look at your life. Which one of these descriptions is closest?
1. You work full time in an office and have family commitments in your home life or are active socially in the evenings with little time for solitude. If this is the case, do you like your life? Would you want more time alone?
2. You work full time and spend your free time primarily alone. If this is the case, do you like your life? Would you like to socialize more and have more friends, or would you want a lover or family?
3. You long to live alone and not see people, yet you’re stuck in a relationship or with people for whom you are responsible. Or, your work takes you into relationships that you prefer to not be in.
4. You work at home, long to be working with people, but you must continue as you’re doing because you love the work. When you are not working, you spend as much
time as possible with others.
5. You work independently, love being alone to work, and spend your free time socializing.
6. You work independently and love to be alone both when you work and also during your free time. If you live with someone, it must be someone like yourself: You would see
very little of each other.
The above are just guidelines to go by. Assess your life and your preferences and needs carefully. For example, you may be living in a situation that causes you to be in relationships that make you want to be alone, but do you really want to be alone? Look at your life and, first, write down the work aspect that is mandatory, and then write down the social aspect you prefer.
After you have determined this, take time to meditate on the ideal situation you would like for yourself. What is missing in your life? Do you really want more free time to be alone? Would you prefer to be in a relationship instead of living alone? What is the ideal living situation for you in both work and social areas?
After you have determined the ideal lifestyle that makes you happy, you will be much better prepared to determine the best spiritual path to pursue.
These paths and exercises are based on a chapter from Higher Self Yoga: Book 1 by Nanette V. Hucknall. For more information on each path, along with more exercises for determining which path is the correct choice for you, pick up a copy from Amazon today!